Benji: Kickers must be protected from late tackles
Tanisha StantonNRL.com Reporter
Sun 17 Mar 2019, 07:08 PM
Benji Marshall knew Addin Fonua-Blake had no intentions of hurting him when he took out the skipper in the air on Saturday night, but he stressed the need to protect kickers.
Marshall was left with a cork to his left quadriceps after copping the whack in the Wests Tigers’ 20-6 victory over the Sea Eagles, while Fonua-Blake was sent to sin bin and put on report. He was on Sunday charged by the match review committee and is looking at one or two matches if he enters an early guilty plea to that and another charge of dangerous contact.
Broncos prop Matt Lodge received a two-week suspension for his shot on Cameron Munster after a kick in their 22-12 loss to the Storm on Thursday night.
Marshall understands that coaches want their big hitters to put pressure on kickers but said their technique is what’s most concerning.
"We’ve been trying to protect kickers in the air. The only thing is that you’re defenceless in the air after you kick and you don’t really know what’s coming,” Marshall said.
“I was actually pretty lucky that he got me in the spot that he did because a bit lower could have been worse. I know Addin personally and there was no intent to hurt me – I spoke to him after and he was apologetic.
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“I know coaches want their middles to put pressure on kickers, that’s one of their main jobs – I have no problem with putting the pressure on the kicker it’s just more a technique issue.”
The Wests Tigers trailed 2-0 heading into the second half at Leichhardt Oval before hooker Robbie Farah scored two tries to propel them to victory.
"I think in the first half we played exactly how we didn’t want to play and in the second half we played how we wanted to play,” Marshall said.
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"It was just myself, Robbie and Luke [Brooks] that needed to change a few things.
"We actually got together and said if we change these couple of things it will be better for the boys and I thought that happened.”
Following Luke Garner’s rousing four-pointer, Farah scored his second try in 65th minute to seal the match.
Marshall puts the 35-year-old hooker’s stellar performance down to his impressive training campaign over the summer months.
“In the pre-season out of the whole team he’s impressed me the most,” Marshall said.
"Usually you’d expect a young guy to come through and be leading everything but I’ll be honest, he’s been unbelievable - done every session, up in front and just talks when he has to talk and everyone listens.
“I think tonight he showed exactly what he’s been showing in the pre-season.”